Memorial Day…then and now

Picture of graves decorated with flags at Arli...

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Memorial Day was initiated as a day to honor our fallen soldiers, but has long since evolved as a day to remember all of our loved ones who have passed from this life.  I remember, as a young child, going to the cemetaries with my grandparents to place flowers on the graves of relatives I’d never known…the parents of my grandparents, some of their siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins…so many people I’d never met.  That taught me that we pay homage to those who came before us and who had a hand in who we became, whether or not we ever knew them.

Working in a retail environment that provides a vast array of flowers, greenery and the supplies to make remembrance saddles and cemetary cones, I am heartened to see how many people still take the time to decorate the graves of their loved ones.  I think there are a few differences in how it’s done now and how it was done when I was a kid.  Now people are more likely to use artificial flowers…this allows the arrangements to last all summer (providing the cemetary allows you to leave the decorations up that long…many don’t).  People also tend to visit the graves on Saturday or Sunday, leaving Monday (officially Memorial Day) free to be with family and friends, having cookouts and kicking off the summer season.  I don’t think my grandparents ever thought of it like that.

I’m not saying that one way is superior to the other.  After all, everything changes in this life.  The important thing is to remember and honor the past while living the best life we can in the present.  I’ll be working today, but I am remembering those relatives and friends who have departed this life…Mom, Grandma, Grandpa, Kay, Aunt Deon, Uncle Bernie…love you all and miss you every day!